In the Middle East this week, Iraq's embattled Yazidi people marked their New Year in a candlelit ceremony despite being on the front lines of the war against the Islamic State group.
The extremists view the Yazidis, an ancient sect of northern Iraq, as apostates. The militants enslaved many Yazidi women during their offensive last summer that saw them capture about a third of Iraq, as well as killed many men.
But despite the hardships of the last year, the Yazidis marked their New Year with smiles and celebration holiest shrine in Lalish, some 60 kilometers (35 miles) north of the Islamic State-held city of Mosul. They lit candles and torches that bathed their faces, tired yet joyous, in soft orange light
Elsewhere in the Mideast, Saudi-led airstrikes and violence raged across Yemen amid an offensive by Shiite rebels in the country, known as Houthis.
In Sudan, authorities held presidential and legislative elections that likely will see President Omar al-Bashir, the world's only sitting president wanted on genocide charges by the International Criminal Court, extend his 25-year rule.
In Israel, people stopped in the streets for an annual remembrance of the Holocaust, honoring the memory of the 6 million Jews killed by the Nazis during World War II.
Egyptians meanwhile celebrated their spring holiday of Sham el-Nessim, or "smelling the breeze," enjoying the temperate weather engulfing the country before the heat of the summer sets in.
And in sports, Bahrain held its annual Formula One Grand Prix race despite ongoing civil strife pitting Shiites against the ruling Sunni monarchy in the island nation.
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AP photo editor Thomas Hartwell in Cairo curated this gallery.